Transforming a room into one suitable for hosting refugees from Ukraine goes a long way in making them feel welcome and safe. But where to start? Professional decluttering coach Maya Rooz (The Life Curator) offers a simple six-step guide to preparing a room for your Ukrainian guests.
Step 1: Start with the trash
The hardest part of decluttering a guest room is getting started. Here, Maya offers a simple tip: start with the trash. “Take a trash bag and go into the room and literally look for trash,” she says. “Even if you think there isn’t one, you will always find something to throw away. That will also give you the momentum you need to take the next steps.”
Step 2: Find things you can donate
Once the trash is cleared, it’s on to the things you don’t want to throw away but don’t want to keep either. “Look for items to donate,” Maya suggests. “You can ask your guests if they need any of it, for example, clothes, toys, etc. Bring the rest to a donation center.”
Step 3: Look for the outsider
The next step is to look for things that don’t seem to fit in the space – things that have somehow wandered in but look out of place. “Find anything that doesn’t normally belong there, but was put there anyway, and return it to its ‘home’. If it doesn’t have one, or if that particular room is its ‘home’ after all, then leave it there. But then try to put it in a box, basket or container,” she advises. In this way, unnecessary clutter is eliminated and the room is visually appealing and orderly.
Step 4: Create space in the closet
Now that the room looks cleaner, it’s time to turn to the closet or dresser. Empty them out completely so your guests have their own space without being reminded daily that they are living in someone else’s house. “Your guests will be grateful to have a clean place to put their belongings,” Maya says.
Step 5: Design neutral
Your visitors should feel at home and safe with you. This includes creating space that they can claim for themselves. “Remove all personal photos and memorabilia,” advises Maya. “Make the space as neutral as possible for your guests.” You can replace private photos with neutral images, but avoid things that seem sentimental and might draw your guests’ attention or remind them of the things they’ve lost.
Step 6: Ask your guests
Finally, when your guests arrive, ask them what they need and don’t need in the room. Maya emphasizes that it is important here to be open, empathetic and flexible. “They’ll probably be shy or proud, so try to see and hear beyond the words they say,” she says. At the end of the day, it’s about making them feel welcome and at home in the way that works best for them.